Traces of modern human life in Rwanda dates from the last glacial period, with archaeological digs unearthing evidence of hunter gatherers in the region during the late Stone Age. A larger Iron Age population likely followed, based on pottery and tools found in the country.
Now Rwanda shares borders with Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Found in the area of the African Great Lakes, the country is highly mountainous and is dissected by many different rivers. A subtropical climate brings with it two rainy seasons and two dry seasons every year.
Colonised by Germany in 1884 as part of the Struggle for Africa, Rwanda was then invaded by Belgium during the First World War. Independence for the region came in 1962. However, conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples of the country continued for many years, finally ending in 1994.
Subsistence agriculture forms the basis of the economy, with coffee and tea particularly strong exports. Tourism meanwhile is growing rapidly, with people flocking to see mountain gorillas – Rwanda is one of just two places in the world where they can be viewed in the wild safely.